Today we finish our interview with Erron Silverstein, Chief Executive Officer of YellowBot.
Q. Do you think it is better for a small business to add their information themselves or go through a professional service?
A. The short answer is that they should do both. The human body needs oxygen, but you can’t live without both a respiratory and a cardiovascular system. If they can’t find their business on YellowBot, small businesses owners should submit a new listing and then enter as much information about their business to reach our audience of motivated users who care about local search.
YellowBot’s strong and simple content management system makes it easy and fast for small businesses to add a business listing, tag it, add photos, etc. and see everything on our website. Also, small businesses should definitely give their information to professional data providers. However, small business people need to understand that most local search websites have their own medium to update and enhance their listing, but that update times vary. More enhanced listing generally get more business.
Q. There are alot of local search related directories out there, who do you see as your main competition?
A. YellowBot’s mission is to build a superior user experience in local search. We are a technology and business development website, not a sales organization. Therefore, we are complementary, not competitive, to the internet yellow pages and vertical customer aggregators that power local search.
Q. Where do you see YellowBot going in the near future?
A. YellowBot has only been in open beta since April, so we still have a lot of development and partnerships to complete. Currently, we are integrating advertisement feeds from partners who would like to reach our community. This will enhance the YellowBot user experience with relevant information and activities powered by our advertisers.
Secondly, we are focused on building tools that enable collaboration between users and open up our database further to let users organize it such as our user lists. The vision is that our users can go beyond local search to make any mashup from our local database that they can imagine. Portability of user generated content will be a theme, with RSS in and out of YellowBot so that power users can take their content from or to the websites that they use on a regular basis. We’re developing our mobile site as well.
Q. What do you see as most critical for small business in local search?
A. Defining their business on other websites as they want to define themselves. This involves a combination of advertising and getting as much relevant information about themselves out there as possible.
Q. Where do you see local search going in the next few months/years?
A. The dominant trends are decentralization and local contextual advertising. Decentralization means that local search will take place on a variety of websites, wireless devices and phones, mapping sites, etc. instead of being concentrated on a few internet yellow pages, as it was five or ten years ago.
Ultimately, this represents an expansion of local search traffic. For consumers looking for businesses, this means a better overall experience since they are given the opportunity to select a site that fits their needs the best. Advertising revenue and the number of small businesses purchasing localized traffic for their websites will both explode over the next few years–we’re talking about billions of dollars more each year.
The engine for growth is going to be local contextual advertising, although there is still room for a variety of other models ranging from CPM, CPA, metered calls and directory assistance, etc. There will be more local traffic, ads and ad engines so small business owners need the online tools to communicate with their potential customers in a meaningful way if they seek to avoid being marginalized into the edges of search marketing.
Thanks Erron. If you missed yesterday post, go back and read that one also. There is a lot of great information here on local search and small businesses. I have tried to emphasize some of the key phrases. What you need to walk way with is that you, the small business needs to be listed, as many places as possible, and that you have the ability to define your business as you see fit. (via your business profile).
YellowBot has a lot of cool features and potential. The use of tags and the ability to set up searches they way you want is neat. The way we search and do things on-line is changing and you, the small business owner, need to see this and address it. Local Biz Bits was set up to help you along the way. I definitely will be looking forward to new features and the business toolset at YellowBot and I will you know when they come on-line.